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Guest Blog Contest Entry - Writers' Houseparty!

Posted: October 5th, 2010, 8:02 pm
by denizb33
Writers’ Houseparty

When you’re caught in the middle bits of your novel, and suddenly research grows more exciting than editing, LOLcats are calling your name and you’re sagging under the weight of plotlines and character arcs springing in every direction – not to mention an abundance of literary terms that begin to make you wonder why you can’t just write the words down as they come and have done – then there’s only one cure.

Send your characters off to a houseparty!

There have been eight such parties to date on the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum, since the first one in June 2007, which was “held” at a ranch in the Australian outback in 1914. Then there was the ceilidh up in Scotland in 1691, the Hallowe’en party, the character therapy sessions, the Washing of the Lions at the court of King Charles II, and a stint of skiing – and magical world building – at Mt. Hutt in New Zealand.

Each party has grown in size and complexity, as more writers joined in the fun, bringing their characters to interact with other forumites’ characters, all of whom come from varying places and time periods. Houseparties are a great way to thrust your characters out of their familiar worlds and to learn things about them that you may not have known before. Writing for a houseparty is just like writing your first draft – fast paced and fluid, with no second guessing; anything goes at a houseparty, from magic to skipping between time periods, to anachronistic events and language, to romantic interludes…

The last such party took place in July and was hosted by ZanMarie In the space of a week, the 15 or so authors who came to play wrote over 183,000 words. Some magical combination of the setting (Cherry Hill, Georgia, Fourth of July 2008), the other characters that arrived at the party (courtesy of Adderbury and Claire and many other authors) and my rediscovery of the romance genre, brought back the rush and the fun I’d lost; I’ve churned out more words in the three months since than I had managed to squeeze out all year!

Starting on 8 October, the ninth houseparty will take place in the Writers Exercises ... redirCnt=1 folder of the Community. The setting for this edition of the houseparty is Constantinople 1493 and my protagonist Rosa Magdalena Romero de Toledo will be your hostess!

How to play:
Step 1: Invitations to anyone who’d like to play are up right now in the Houseparty Invite and Character Introductions ... &tid=68729 thread; feel free to bring as many characters as you like from your novel(s)

Step 2: Read (or skim) the descriptions of the place we will be playing in, in the Description ... &tid=68731 thread and browse previous parties ... &tid=68728

Step 3: When you see that the houseparty thread has started (it will be called Constantinople Houseparty), click on reply at the bottom of the first message and write a post of your characters starting their journey to the party, or arriving there

Step 4: Have them greet their host, tour the villa or grounds alongside the Bosphorus, and talk to any other writer’s characters who have already arrived

Step 5: Other writers will have their characters arrive and start to do things. If someone is doing something interesting, let your character join the fun and get involved – helping out, arguing, talking, exploring, whatever you like – and other characters will respond (yes, you will be writing someone else’s character responding to your character’s actions, and vice versa), moving in and out of various locations in the setting

Don’t worry about timing; if you’d like your character to be involved in something you may have missed you can always tack on an [earlier] or [later] to the start of your post. Time trousers – where a characters ends up in two places at once at the same time – can be quite fun!

Hope to see you all in Constantinople on Friday!

Re: Guest Blog Contest Entry - Writers' Houseparty!

Posted: October 7th, 2010, 3:34 pm
by Mira
Wow - this is so cool! I love bringing my characters places. It's a wonderful way to help them evolve. Thanks so much for the information!

Re: Guest Blog Contest Entry - Writers' Houseparty!

Posted: October 10th, 2010, 9:37 pm
by denizb33
Thanks Mira!
We'll be playing all week if you'd like to come by!